Tag: iphone

Watching For Answers

The Apple Watch finally goes on sale this month. In the days leading up to availability, we’ve seen criticisms and negative reactions fall along two tracks:

  1. What is the point of a smartwatch?
  2. And why would anyone spend $10,000 to $17,000 on a gold version of what can be had for $379?

Say what you want about the Apple wearable, but those are not the right questions to ask.

(continue reading…)


iPhone Panoramas

As many have already said, the iPhone is a surprisingly good camera, on par with most high-end point-and-shoots. But on a recent trip to New York, I developed a new found appreciation for it and liken it closer to a quality 35mm. In particular, the iOS7 Panorama mode is actually quite incredible. And this is on a previous-gen iPhone5!

Panorama mode works by joining frames as you pan the camera left-to-right, with up to 180deg field of view. There are some artifacts that you wouldn’t get with a true panoramic lens (see the motion blur of rushing travelers in Grand Central Station). Yet the responsiveness was quick enough to not muddle the messages of the flashing screens in Times Square, and the ability to stitch the frames of Liberty Island despite the rolling of the boat is really quite amazing.

(Click on images for full size.)

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station


9-11 Memorial, North Reflection Pool

9-11 Memorial, North Reflection Pool


9-11 Memorial, South Reflection Pool

9-11 Memorial, South Reflection Pool


Coney Island Beach

Coney Island Beach


Liberty Island, from Miss Liberty

Liberty Island, from Miss Liberty


NYC Skyline, from Miss Liberty

NYC Skyline, from Miss Liberty


Times Square, W46th

Times Square, W46th


Times Square, W45th

Times Square, W45th


This Article Is Not Innovative Enough

Yesterday I read a review where the latest Apple Airport Extreme was cited for a lack of innovation. Seriously? For a wireless router?! Innovative?? Aren’t we beating this Apple-is-not-innovative drum a bit too loudly? Let’s get real. (continue reading…)

Did You Hear The One About…

Will Apple come out with their own Siri-influenced TV in 2012, since Steve Jobs supposedly “finally cracked it” shortly before his death? What about the idea of an iPod Nano-based wristwatch – not just by adding a watch band, but by integrating Bluetooth and turning it into an iOS remote display device? And everyone was so bummed at the iPhone 4S release, expecting instead the oft-rumored iPhone 5 that never materialized – when will that finally appear?

Rumors abound with Apple. And because they are so tight-lipped about product release schedules, no one (who doesn’t work for Apple) will truly know for certain until the big unveiling. Tech journals are filled with unverifiable hints from supply chain partners and “sources familiar with the situation”, and everyone is eating it up in anticipation. Slow news day? Let’s throw out an Apple rumor to keep people interested!

Since your guess is as good as mine, I thought I would add my own random predictions to the mix. And random it truly is.

Introducing the “Apple Prediction Generator”.

All done in jest. No truths implied to named media outlets or unnamed sources. But isn’t it interesting how some generated quotes actually resemble real-life headlines? I’m just sayin’…


Using MiniKeePass with Dropbox

This post is going to be of interest to only a very specific demographic, but based on my web site stats, it seems necessary. Since writing my “story” – it barely qualifies as a “review” – of MiniKeePass, it has (surprisingly) become the most popular item on my blog. And tracking the Google search referrals, by far the biggest impetus for coming to my site has been in a quest for the answer to “how to use MiniKeePass with Dropbox”.

(continue reading…)

The Next Revolution

The original iPhone was revolutionary because it was the first product to combine a phone, music player, Internet browser, mail client, camera, gaming system, and – let’s face it – an anything-to-anyone customizable application platform.

Likewise, the iPad was equally revolutionary in it’s positioning as a re-imagined PC alternative and Internet/media consumption device.

These were paradigm shifts. Nothing since then – whether from competitors or Apple’s own evolutionary releases – carry the gravitas that would allow anyone to call them similarly “revolutionary”.

Yet “not revolutionary” has been the charge levied – unfairly, in my opinion – against releases such as iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, and iPhone 4S. To my way of thinking, “revolutionary” is a difficult goal to achieve for any well-entrenched product line. And it got me to thinking: what would make for a “revolutionary” jump in mobile devices?

  • A capacitive multitouch display that also had solar charging capabilities? (Not just a solar cell on the back, but one integrated into the touchscreen?)
  • A pico projector and integrated laser-projection keyboard?


What do you think? Take a moment to participate in this thought experiment. Beyond simply “bigger, faster”, what next technology iteration would make a mobile device be worthy of the label “revolutionary”? Please comment!

What’s In A Name?

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

For months leading up to the 2011 iPhone release, speculation was running rampant. One oft-repeated rumor centered around the idea that Apple would introduce a low-cost less functional smartphone that targeted the feature-phone crowd (to be called an “iPhone 4S”), and the next rev of the product evolution aiming for the power users (to be called “iPhone 5″).

At the end of the big reveal, Apple did just that. Sort of. (continue reading…)

Digital Wallet, “BookBook” Style

Like the bulbous monstrosity that Seinfeld’s George Costanza carried in his back pocket, I used to walk around with a very obese wallet. (Sadly, not fattened by an excess of cash.) But eventually I pared down all the receipts and other unnecessary detritus, even resorting to a separate money clip in anticipation of the day when our computer overlords banish such legal tender in favor of NFC and a cashless society.

So now I have a wallet with ID, credit cards, and high-use “rewards cards” in one pocket, and a bumpered iPhone in the other. Cash/coins and sometimes even keys are optional, but I never leave the house without both the phone and the wallet. So why not combine them? This was the premise behind 12 South’s BookBook.

Based on the success of their MacBook and iPad covers, they came out with a “pocket Bible” sized antiqued leather case – but this one can also act as a wallet. Bibliophiles would be smitten by the bookish resemblance, but honestly I could have cared less. I just liked the consolidation idea. There are other wallet-ish iPhone cases, but for me a driver’s license window was mandatory, as well as the ability to hold more than just one or two cards. I intend this to be my everyday wallet, not a stripped-down “night on the town” pinch-hitter.

BookBook is extremely well made. Very sturdy leather construction; I don’t see it falling apart any time soon. It holds the iPhone with speakers & ports accessible (though you have to slide the phone up to clear the lens from the case for photos).

On the wallet side, there is room for my driver’s license, auto club card, multiple debit/credit cards, a couple rewards cards, and even a thick HID building access card. Oh wait, what’s that you say? There’s an app for that? Why yes, yes there is. CardStar allowed me to electronically store all my rewards cards, and even my AAA card. So what’s the toteboard say now? “Driver’s license, multiple debit/credit cards, and even a thick HID building access card.” And the fit is no problem for the BookBook.

So how is it working out? Well, I must admit that I have to retrain myself a bit. There are times – such as working in the server room – where I have set “the phone” down. I must remember that I also just set my wallet down, and there is nothing in my back pocket anymore. A couple times now I’ve locked myself out because my HID card key is still sitting next to the console right where I left “the phone”. But I’ll get over that. I learn, eventually.

No, the bigger issue is answering the phone when in a hurry. When not pressed for time, it is easy to double over the book jacket and hold the sheathed phone to my ear. But when scrambling to answer, I feel quite foolish holding an open book against the side of my head.

Secure Password Management with KeePass and MiniKeePass

I always advise users to create hard-to-guess passwords, never re-use them across sites, and change them semi-regularly. The push-back I get is that this can be a daunting task to try and remember a myriad of constantly-changing credentials, no matter how good the mnemonic techniques may be. But one look at the growing list of high-visibility break-ins and security compromises is all you need as incentive. Why make it easy for crackers to jump from one service to another just because you were a victim of limited brain cells devoted to passwords?

Call it “do as I say, not as I do”, the Cobbler’s Children syndrome, or just simple laziness, but despite the best of intentions I was not following my own advice.

(continue reading…)

Apple Patents Real-Time Copy Protection? Ho Hum.

It started last week, when a patent watchdog came across a 2009 proposed filing from Apple to use infraRed signals to jam the video recording capability of an iPhone. The use-case for this technology was copy protection for live events such as concerts, with jamming transmitters positioned on stage and aimed at the crowd.

It must have been a slow news day… for the entire week! I have now seen that story dozens of times, propagated in blogs and mainstream media, all with the how-dare-they calls to action and claims of Big Brother. And more significantly, all acting like it was a foregone conclusion for the anti-piracy feature to be in the next iPhone release.

So let me say this: I will bet my left nut that this IR copy-protection will never see the light of iPhone flash.

There are more than 150,000 patents filed every year, many of which never take form beyond the paper upon which they are printed. This is one of them.

  • The ability to block recording, if even possible, would be exploited by others. Do you think moral upstanding concert promoters would be the only ones to deploy such a jamming technology?
  • Dollars to donuts some hacker would figure out how to subvert, jailbroken or otherwise.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, the whole world does not yet use iDevices. Determined bootleggers would simply switch to another device.

Unless Big Brother really exerts itself to force all devices to implement this scheme (and it won’t), there is no way that Apple alone will introduce a crippling feature to their phones when others will not have it. It’s one thing for an industry to mandate – such as AACS on Blu-ray – but its another thing entirely for a manufacturer to attempt on its own. Besides, Apple has already tried DRM once before, and failed miserably. :)

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